Monday, January 16, 2012

Exactly One Line

(find the talk here – The Book of Mormon – A Book from God)

You may not know this about me, but a few years ago I finished my bachelors degree in Mathematics with a minor in Physics from Brigham Young University. I love math. I even love geometry. I didn’t at first, but the more I studied physics, the more I realized I loved geometry.

One of the basic postulates of geometry is that through any two points there is exactly one line. When I heard this postulate spoken of in General Conference by Elder Tad R. Callister I almost cheered! I love when the General Authorities talk about math and science concepts in Conference. I feel that there is something really divine about math and science.

But I digress.

The Book of Mormon. Elder Callister says that with it there is no middle ground, “It is either the word of God as professed, or it is a total fraud.” From a logical viewpoint, this makes sense. It can’t just be a “good book,” since it talks about the atonement of Jesus Christ and professes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God it either has to be from the devil or from God – because you can’t just write an untrue book about Jesus Christ without it being false. So either Joseph Smith received gold plates from an angel and translated them by the power of God as he said he did, or he was possessed by the devil and conjured up this book.

Elder Callister compared it to C. S. Lewis’ argument of why a person must either accept or reject the divinity of Jesus Christ – not merely think of him as a “good person” or a “prophet.” Said C. S. Lewis,

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. …You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God:or else a madman or something worse. … But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

I love C. S. Lewis. I enjoy a little bit of logic when it comes to the gospel – even though the ultimate test of truth comes through the Holy Ghost.

Back to the geometry lesson -  Elder Callister described why we need both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

The principles of geometry state that there are an infinite number of lines that can be draw through one point. In every direction – not just the lines we can think of on a plane, but an entire space. Lines going everywhere! Who wouldn’t be confused with all those possibilities?

But add just one more point, and suddenly you have only one possibility – through any two points there is exactly one line. There are absolutely no other possibilities.

When you think of it that way, it is easy to see why there is only one true Church of Jesus Christ, and why that Church is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. The doctrine of the Church is based on the Bible and the Book of Mormon, together as testaments of Jesus Christ. As Elder Callister puts it, “Only one interpretation of Christ’s doctrines survives the testimony of these two witnesses.”

In his talk, Elder Callister described several instances where the Book of Mormon clarifies doctrine put forth in the Bible, but says, “none is more powerful nor poignant than the Book of Mormon’s discourses on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” I love reading about the Savior, both in the gospels, and in the epistles of Paul in which he teaches people about the Savior. I love reading the words of Isaiah, which are rich in prophesies of the Savior. But by far my favorite place to read about the Savior and His mission is in the Book of Mormon. Some of my favorite passages are Mosiah chapter 4 and Alma chapter 42 – although nearly every page is full of testimonies of the Savior and His mission and atonement. There is something about reading the Book of Mormon that seems to pull me toward the Savior. My thoughts are turned to the Savior more often, my life is more in line with the teachings of the Savior, and my testimony of His divinity and atonement is strengthened.

In the Book of Mormon, Moroni teaches, “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.” Which is exactly what the Savior taught when He said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every … house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” So, the Savior himself taught that if anything persuades people to believe in Him, it must be of God – because Satan cannot persuade people to believe in Christ, otherwise he would be divided against himself.

The Book of Mormon draws me closer to Christ almost involuntarily – without even trying, it pulls me to the Savior with an indescribable force. Then, as the Savior himself taught, it must be of God.

To any who have not read the Book of Mormon and think they know whether the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true Church of Christ, I tell you that you cannot know if it is true if you do not know whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. Elder Callister testified, “An honest, unbiased reading of the Book of Mormon will bring someone to the same conclusion as my great-great-grandfather, namely: ‘The devil could not have written it—it must be from God.’”

And as the 14 year old girl testified, “I have read every page of the Book of Mormon and I know it’s true.”

I, too, have read every page of the Book of Mormon, and I know it is of God. Every page draws me close to the Savior and testifies of Him. How grateful I am for its power and its truths.

How do you know the Book of Mormon is true? Have you experienced “an honest, unbiased reading of the Book of Mormon”? Do you judge the truthfulness of the Church without having read that book?

Find more insight on this talk over at
Diapers and Divinity’s General Conference Book Club

1 comment:

  1. I really loved this talk, and I think your recap is absolutely wonderful! Thank you.


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